All the strength you need to achieve anything is within you – Sara Henderson
I wrote this back in early August 2012 and found a quote that I thought summed it up.
First there is no reliable link between money and talent, beauty and love. People are living their dreams everywhere while others are living their nightmares. You don’t have to be the very best in the world to succeed at what you love doing. You need to clearly define what success looks and feels like to you. There will always be someone better than you at what you are doing. Don’t compare yourself or subordinate to others, thinking that others are better than you. You will always have a skillset that someone else doesn’t have simply because you are unique.
Look at badly written books, unattractive spouses, bad actors etc who have ‘succeeded’. They have achieved their dreams enough for it to come to our attention and probably thereby afford them what they dreamed of. The difference is that people found their passion and spent time developing it because they simply loved it and could not stop doing it. If a task is not in our highest values we simply won’t do it unless forced. We can get in the flow with some things, and avoid others that we think we want but actually don’t.
One way to know yourself better over time is to have a To do list notebook. Each day write out a list of what you think you can achieve or at least start to achieve. Tick off what you have accomplished, put a cross next to whatever you decided not to do and leave untouched the items you didn’t get around to but believe you will do one day. Keep and date the lists in the book. You will see the kind of activities you regularly achieve, those you drop and those you magically never get around to. There is a pattern here. Think about the reasons for leaving those tasks permanently on there most of all.
If you find your natural talent, you will become enthusiastic to do it in your spare time, probably talk about it and attract other people to your energy and dreams. It will not seem like work, it will seem like play and you will put in the hours necessary to excel.
John Williams in Screw Work, Let’s Play says you need to find your magic – a task that seems effortless and enjoyable to you yet is applauded or rewarded by others. If you find a way to get more and more experience of doing your ‘magic’, you will start to earn ‘playcheques’ for this effortless work. Plus you will get more enjoyment from following this skill/passion than from doing something which has more potential to earn more but you are not motivated to do, therefore will be less likely to do well. You may or may not have skills and motivation in this potentially lucrative area but as you are not engaged it will show. The kindest thing is if it really doesn’t suit and your employer lets you go and fires you!
From the book ‘What colour is your parachute?’ I learned that so often, you get a job because people hire by impulse and they are too lazy (or smart) to shop around. They go with their gut and just give you a chance. It’s not what you know it’s who you know. If you are there, engaged and enthusiastic and seem to be on the same wavelength with the same values, they will hire you. Don’t apply for jobs that you don’t really want as there is no point wasting your energy. The employer will sense that at interview and all the preparation will have been a waste of time. Look for jobs within your comfort zone that offer potential. You might like the company and its values. You will get excited about adding to your job spec, or about doing an amazing job and feeling satisfaction.
Siimon Reynolds talks about USP. This is your Unique Selling Point . High income will come eventually as you develop your subject, are unique and can charge more because you are specialised, original, enthusiastic and engaged. Don’t compare yourself or value others above yourself. Never compete, create – Earl Nightingale quote. You could see others around you in class or at work seeming to do what you can do but better, and lose your confidence if you compare, however they may not have the passion or drive to excel. Plus we all want different things. Those others you are competing with may choose a different direction and leave you free to advance. At least you are still there, doing a job you love. Plus you may have more imagination, learn faster and move ahead even if your competition stays, as you spend itme reading around your subject and bringing new insights. Only compete with your own dreams. Subordinating yourself only creates fear and self sabotage. You only fear public speaking if you think the people in the room are somehow better that you – wealthier, more educated, smarter. They they are here to hear you because you have something unique to say, not to judge you. We can all be judgmental but who doesn’t enjoy listening to someone enthusiastic with good energy, knowledgeable and passionte about their subject? Look at TED.com. They can make any subject interesting.
I used to go to a lot of pop concerts ecause they were free and I would always enjoy them even if I wasn’t too sure of the artist or music because of the atmosphere and energy and happiness of those around me.
We are all human beings with human traits – we want to be heard, validated and make a contribution. Oprah Winfrey summarised this after talking to 30,000 people over 25 years. See the transcript of her final show. She was so loved and listened to although in a traditional minority – black, female and overweight. She did what interested her, what she was good at – listening, talking gathering information and getting the best from people.
Anyway I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that once you find one of the things that interests you and develop it, you can become an ‘expert’ on it and give talks to increase your standing/influence in that community of people with similar interests. This one way to make a living out of what you love.
What I am trying to get out on paper here has no doubt been told countless times It is not new and yet after years of reading, it has taken me this long to distil, believe it, live it. Other people may tell it better but you may not have come across them yet, or you couldn’t hear it at the time or you got excited for a while but then forgot the message.
You can only live by your own values for a satisfying life. The number one regret of dying people according to research done in palliative care is the regret of not daring to live their lives truly as themselves. So who are you? What have you done in your life? Was each activity undertaken for you or at another’s well meaning suggestion? How did each work out for you? List the reward for each thing you did. Ben Harvey says that we are rewarded in four ways for anything we do. We gain knowledge, gain money, get experience or get relationships. Ask why you did each activity and common themes will emerge. You need to study your motives to help find what will make you the happiest.
Barbara Sher says we are not just a bunch of DNA, we are put on this planet to Do What We Are and this will lead to happiness and often success. It is her mission to unlock this hidden ‘genius’ in everyone. We are all geniuses because we are unique. 50 Cent reminds us that our DNA will never be repeated in the history of the universe. Nelson Mandela quoted Maryanne Williams when he advised that is is our obligation to develop our talents. Once we can come out and be gorgeous, fabulous and talented, we give others the right to be also.
We may fear leaving our circle of friends and family behind if we do this, but you may find that you start new conversations with your friends instead, and you realise and help them with their own dreams and talent development. Give permission to succeed and be amazing.
I have noticed a strange habit in myself. Once I start to get in flow to realise my potential, and I am going full steam ahead with what I know and love, feeling clever, creative and yet I often suddenly stop. I distract myself by getting a drink, calling someone, cleaning something. If this happens to you, listen and observe yourself. Be aware that you have stopped. We may think we have a good reason to stop, but then let ourselves be distracted so many times that we forget to return to what we were doing. Is it because we are uncomfortable experiencing so much fun, joy, creativity and perhaps feeling too proud of ourselves? We may carry over that joy into whatever we are procrastinating with, even cleaning. We may think that being happy is the end goal and if I am just as happy cleaning why do I need to continue creating?
The reason you need to force yourself back to your productivity is just to see where it takes you, to learn about yourself. If you absolutely cannot go on, your inner resistance is high. Try getting different colour pens – red for resistance maybe, and a have a conversation with yourself. Blue for the enthuastic you and red for the fear, worries and concerns. If red didn’t exist you would be more of a success by now. Red is only a powerful inner voice, created by years of beliefs, not the absolute truth. The rich and famous do not always have more than us, they really don’t. They don’t have more talent, connection. They simply had more inner belief. For example they envisaged a future/house etc that they allowed themselves to create, gathered enough enthusiasm for something and inspired others to give them a chance at success. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Where we are is usually where we are comfortable. We are in our comfort zones – regarding relationships, jobs, income, assets, weights etc. There is nothing wrong with that. We are content and we settle. Then a thought comes into our head to say I am no longer comfortable with x, y and z so we change and go on a little journey so that our outer world matches our inner world. And we settle into that next comfort zone. It may be a differnt job, partner, level of income etc. Sometimes our thoughts lead us to discover a teacher, mentor, book, tv show, piece of information that resonates with us suddenly. ‘When we are ready the teacher will come”. The teacher has always been there , like a big soup of teachers of awareness around us, but we suddenly feel the need to stick out our tongue to taste it and sample what is there.
Ben Harvey likens our comfort zone to being inside a balloon going through life, but someone has taken your balloon to the top of Mt Everest and popped it. Suddenly you can see for miles, all the possibilities and opportunities with clarity. I take his analogy further. You may be paralysed at the thought, especially if you are a perfectionist, but what if this way down from Everest to that marvellous city is the wrong one? What if I don’t like that city? If you like the green luscious path to that city then take it. It doesn’t have to be the best path, it just has to engage you, right here, right now and meet with your values and interests. Joy is Now is not when you get to that city. Who wants years of angst making money to have a year of enjoying it and then wandering around wondering what to do next? Famous people don’t stop what they are doing when they get rich. They still want to be happy, energised and absorbed too.
If the green path isn’t to your liking and you can’t get in flow, cut across to a different path. But if you switch away from things you know you like (like when you stop mid flow in something that is going really well) listen to your innver voice and get out your pen. Don’t worry that what comes out may feel like schizophrenia. Surprise yourself. Then get on and continue. Writing our Red’s fears brings them into the open. Go back and forth as often as you need with this red and blue conversation. It might feel like ‘conversations with God’ where the writer didn’t know where the information came from. It comes from within of course. You have the answers.
And when you get back on track, complete what you were doing and have something to show for your work such as some writing, a video, talk, painting, whatever – nurture it like a baby. Gather only good feedback from anyone you can. This is the start. Let it sit and rest and marinate. Your mind will keep doing the work on your project all by itself, while you work, shower, eat, sleep. Keep a notebook, pen, phone, recorder etc handy. Create Da Vinci notebooks and visual diaries. You will be amazed at what develops and how good you feel letting it all out. You seceretly knew you had it in you and you were right. You are a different person already; you have grown. If you could see your aura, it would glow bright. You are ready to infect the people around you. You are in flow, absorbed, energised, proud and surprised on some level at where your journey is taking you.
You may start this process many times if you are multi faceted or you may delve deeper and deeper. Barbara Sher in Refuse to Choose explains what to do if you are a Scanner and have too many of these passions – how to balance them, make a living, enjoy all without earning a cent but living a very fuflfilled life – whatever it is you want. But this energy will attract different things into your life and you will see life differently. Can you cope with all that joy?